How to Apologize as a Coach When You've Gone Too Far
In addition to being a broadcaster and the founder of Beam Queen Bootcamp, Sam Peszek is an Olympic Gymnast. As an elite gymnast, she was part of the gold-medal-winning American teams at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in 2007 and was later on selected as a member of the U.S. Olympic team in 2008. At the 2008 Bejing Olympics, the U.S. took home a silver medal. After her Olympic debut, she went on to compete in college for the UCLA Bruins. At UCLA, Peszek became a 17-time All-American, the 2011 and 2015 balance beam champion, and 2015 all-around co-champion. After retiring from competition in 2015, Peszek was hired as an announcer for the Pac-12 network and went on to found Beam Queen Boot Camp in 2017.
As both a star athlete and tenured coach, Pat Fitzgerald has a unique perspective on drawing the line between competitive conditioning and abusive coaching. As a linebacker for Northwestern from 1993 to 1996, he compiled numerous awards including being named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year twice and the Big Ten Medal of Honor. After graduation, he went on to help coach at University of Maryland, Idaho and Colorado before returning to Northwestern in 2001 serving as the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator. In 2006, Fitzgerald was selected as the head coach and has since led the team on to win two Big Ten Championships in the West Division. He was also selected as Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2018 and received the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award in 2020.
In this video, Pat and Sam discuss how to know if you've gone too far as a coach. Sam highlights that the difference between needed discipline and being too harsh lies within explaining why you are disciplining. She states that the athletes understanding why you are raising your voice or disciplining is the key differentiator. Pat discusses that communication and taking ownership of your actions as a coach is also a key way to differentiate from being too harsh.